Just when you thought you were getting the different biofuels sorted out with ethanol and biodiesel, along comes another one, biobutanol, that promises better mileage due to higher energy density. DuPont and BP have teamed up to create this new fuel produced by fermenting sugars from sugar beets.
DuPont and BP have been working on the new fuel since 2003. The two companies plan to introduce the first generation of biobutanol in the U.K. by the end of 2007. And they hope to roll out an improved second-generation biobutanol by 2010. DuPont and BP aim to make the fuel competitive with gasoline, even when oil is priced as low as $30 to $40 a barrel.
Biobutanol has 30% higher energy density than ethanol, blends with ethanol and gasoline and, unlike ethanol, can be transported in current pipelines. It can also be used in normal gasoline engines without special “flex fuel” modifications. It has greater tolerance to moisture and lower vapor pressure. Quite a lot of advantages from one new fuel.
The easier it is to incorporate a new fuel into existing vehicles and distribution networks, the quicker we can use it to ease pressures on fuel supplies. Although it is not intended to replace ethanol as a gasoline substitute or additive, it is one more fuel source to add to the mix, and from the description of the benefits, it sounds like a good one.
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